There’s a select few who thrive in the spotlight; but for most, it’s terrifying. In our last Transform to Thrive, Lisa spoke with BMO for Women’s Director Laura Reinholz on rejecting that fear and putting yourself out there as a thought leader. Here are some of the pearls of wisdom that came from their discussion.
(You can also catch up on the recording, with a caveat that we experienced some technical problems with our streaming provider this time around. All part of the medium!)
Know – and love – the things you talk about
Laura says it’s super important to recognize that you can’t be an expert in everything, so focus on what you know, and draw on other experts behind you for help. Having a base of expertise and research to back up what you’re saying is critical, says Lisa, because it adds a depth and invites conversation. It’s not enough to know about it, though; Laura says that passion is so important to making your thought leadership ring true.
Being authentic means revealing yourself…
Lisa says it can be hard for people to differentiate between their various “personalities” – who they are at work versus at home versus as a parent or friend – but it’s so important to reconcile those to be your true self. Laura speaks to her own mix of what she shares on social: a blend of corporate initiatives, women at work, motorcycle riding, travel, and mental health. She adds that she uses different channels for different things: Twitter is a mix of personal and professional, but LinkedIn remains more professional.
…but not all parts of yourself.
You still want to put your best foot forward, especially when your personal image is tied to a brand. Laura advocates against using language you might use in your real life on social media, and being careful about the tone you strike when writing. Lisa agrees, saying that you want to put your best self forward. She also suggests putting “opinions are my own” in your social media bios, to recognize that you might personally have different opinions than the company line.
Lend a hand
Thought leadership does not have to be a solo endeavour. In addition to her own, Laura assists executives at BMO with their media and public speaking. To make it in their own voice and to their interest areas, they create guidelines around what they want to discuss, and their feelings on certain issues. Lisa remembers back to her time in journalism, when she’d prepare things for news anchors. That’s translated well at MediaFace, where the team gives ideas and suggestions for thought leadership content based on established content pillars and weekly “point of view” meetings.
Lisa makes the important point that so few people are rooting for you to fail. With this in mind, it’s a lot easier to allay your fears and get out there. Laura adds that when you get over the fear, things like public speaking can be easy – especially if you’re talking about something important to you. The pair laughed over the technical difficulties that were experienced during the episode, and Lisa mentioned that if the story you tell yourself is that you failed, you’ll never get past it. You have to pick up, and keep going.
Laura recommends a few books that have helped prepare her for expanding thought leadership:
- Executive Presence by Sylvia Ann Hewlett
- Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life by Laura Gassner Otting
Are you prepared to expand on your thought leadership this year? Tell us how these tips helped you @MediaFace. If you’re looking for specific on-camera coaching or media training, contact us to set up a consultation.